Vacation Rental Guest Communication: Ultimate Guide

Use these strategies, templates & tools to enhance the guest experience, minimize questions & have scalable processes for your STR business.
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April 18, 2024
Vacation Rental Guest Communication: Ultimate Guide

Your guests expect you to be attentive throughout their stay and responsive to their every need. They also want to be independent, made to feel special, and they may wish to break some of your house rules, too.

That’s quite a list of expectations and potential issues that you need to be able to address, all the while managing your internal team and growing your short-term rental (STR) portfolio. 

As a result, guest communication is one of the most challenging areas within any vacation rental business—which is why you need a clear-headed, scalable strategy in place.

In this article, you’ll see:

  • Guest communication best practices and what mistakes to avoid
  • How to create an automated message flow
  • Example message templates for each stage of the guest journey
  • The benefits of a digital guidebook and what information to include
  • How to automate messages to noisy guests
  • The value of outsourcing guest management (especially outside normal working hours)

With the following strategies, templates, and suggested software tools, you’ll be able to:

  • Implement scalable communication processes that save you time
  • Improve engagement, enhance the guest experience, and minimize questions
  • Be more responsive to issues
  • Reduce property damage costs and avoid neighbor complaints
  • Reduce the workload of your management team

The dos and don’ts of STR guest communication

By sticking to best practices and avoiding common pitfalls, you can keep your guests engaged and independent—and so minimize both cancellations and questions.

Here are some essential dos and don'ts for vacation rental guest communication:


  • Be clear and concise: Provide clear, straightforward information about your property, rules, and procedures.
  • Be proactive: Anticipate potential questions or issues your guests might have and address them in advance—for example with planned messaging at key points during a booking.
  • Be responsive: Quickly respond to any questions or problems. Timely communication improves the guest experience and helps prevent issues from escalating.
  • Maintain professionalism: Always communicate professionally, even when addressing complaints or negative feedback.
  • Be scalable: Use automated processes, like scheduling message templates so you can grow your business without experiencing bottlenecks or becoming overwhelmed with manual tasks.


  • Don't overwhelm or overcomplicate: Avoid bombarding guests with too much information at once. Organize messaging in a digestible format and prioritize the most important details.
  • Don't delay: Avoid leaving your guests waiting for responses, especially if they’re facing issues that need immediate attention—for example, about property access.
  • Don't ignore feedback: Address any issues constructively and use them as an opportunity to improve your service.
  • Don’t do it on the fly: Have an organized process for managing guest communication that you can easily follow and repeat, even in emergencies.

By following these dos and don'ts, you can create a positive experience for your guests and stay operationally efficient as you grow your portfolio.

Create an automated message flow

Creating an automated message flow streamlines communication with your guests and ensures you have as few manual tasks as possible. Meanwhile, guests always receive the information they need to get the most out of their stay.

Below, you’ll see how to create and automate guest messaging for the duration of each stay.

First, create the message flow itself, which should chart the guest journey from when they book to after they check out. 

Here’s an example:

  1. Booking confirmation: Send an immediate thank-you message with booking details once a reservation is confirmed. Share your house rules. Consider including some information about the local area, too.
  1. Pre-arrival instructions: A few days before arrival, share essential information such as check-in instructions, directions, and any special guidelines guests need to be aware of.
  1. Check-in reminder: On the day of arrival, send a message reiterating check-in instructions and providing any last-minute details or contact information.
  1. Mid-stay check-in: If the stay is lengthy, consider sending a check-in message midway through to address any needs or questions.
  1. Pre-check-out instructions: A day before departure, send instructions for check-out and any expectations (like tidying, washing up, or where to leave keys).
  1. Thank-you and review request: After check-out, thank guests for their stay and ask for a positive review.

Example vacation rental message flow

Now, use a messaging platform to create message templates for each step in the message flow. 

With Minut’s Guest Connect, you can create customized templates that include shortcodes for information like guest names and check-in instructions.

Scheduled welcome message within the Minut app
Creating message templates for each step of the guest journey helps you reduce your team’s workload and create a scalable process for business growth. Source

Feel free to adapt, copy, and use these template examples (Minut shortcodes included) for your own guest messages:

⇨ Booking confirmation

Hello {{guest_name}},

Thank you for choosing {{home_name}} for your stay! Your booking from {{checkin_date}} to {{checkout_date}} is confirmed. We'll send more details soon, but feel free to reach out with any questions.

[Local Area] has much to offer, from scenic spots like [Local Attraction] to fantastic dining at [Local Restaurant]. Please take a look at our digital guidebook for ideas on what to do and some of our favorite local gems [Link]. 

You’ll also find our house rules there, including details of our quiet hours, our no-smoking policy, and how-tos for some of the appliances. Also, please note that we use Minut to carry out privacy-safe noise, occupancy, and cigarette smoke monitoring.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

⇨ Three days before check-in

Hi {{guest_name}},

It’s almost time for the start of your trip, so here are a few key details for your arrival. Check-in is from [Standard Check-in Time] on {{checkin_date}}, and here's everything you need to get settled in:

Address: {{home_address}}

Parking: {{parking_details}}

Access code: {{home_access_code}}

Check-in instructions: {{checkin_instructions}}

WiFi network and password: {{WiFi_network}} / {{WiFi_code}}

You can find all this information and more in our digital guide [Link] but if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Enjoy your journey,

[Your Name]

⇨ Day after check-in

Hi {{guest_name}},

Hope you had a restful first night! Was everything to your satisfaction? Please let us know if you have any questions or requests so you can settle in right away and enjoy the rest of your stay.

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat out this evening, check out [Local Area] as you’ll find lots of great options for all kinds of tastes there.

Have a great time,

[Your Name]

⇨ Day before check-out

Hi {{guest_name}},

We hope you've been having a great stay! Just to help make sure everything goes smoothly tomorrow, here’s a reminder of how to manage check-out:

Check-out time: [Standard Check-out Time]

[Any other specific instructions, such as washing up, trash disposal, and thermostat settings]

It’s a keyless lock, so please just firmly close the door behind you when you leave.

Thank you! As ever, let us know if you have any questions at all :)


[Your Name]

⇨ Two days after check-out

Dear {{guest_name}},

Thank you for choosing {{home_name}}! We hope you had a fun and relaxing stay. We'd be grateful if you could share your experiences by leaving us a five-star review [Link to review platform]. 

If you’re not sure what to say, lots of our guests mention the condition and cleanliness of the property, how communicative we’ve been, or the peaceful local area with its charming restaurants.

You’ve been fantastic guests and we’d love to be your hosts again. As a token of our appreciation, we're pleased to offer you a 15% discount on your next stay with us. Just go to our website [Link] and use the code WELCOME BACK.

Best wishes,

[Your Name]

With your templates set, use your scheduling tools so guests receive each message according to your preferred timing.

Minut’s scheduling features are extremely simple to use. The platform connects with your property management system (PMS), pulling in key data to ensure all the dates and details are correct for each stay.

This allows you to create customized rules for your guest communication, which scales as you increase your inventory and number of bookings.

Minut app showing Guest Connect
Minut’s scheduled messages are easy to set up and manage. Source

Share a digital guidebook to minimize questions

As you’ll have noticed in the templates above, a great way to reduce incoming guest calls and messages is to provide guests with a digital guidebook. This is an all-in-one resource you can adapt over time so guests can be self-sufficient throughout their stay. 

You should use your digital guide to share all the key information from your scheduled messages, your house rules, and local recommendations. 

Your guidebook should be branded, easy to customize, simple to share, and fast to access. Also, when creating your guidebook, remember the dos and don’ts from above: So, present your information in a clear and concise way, and anticipate possible questions.

Here’s a look at what you can include in your vacation rental guidebook:

  • Arrival information:
    Including directions, helpful tips, and parking details such as costs
  • Access instructions:
    Extremely clear information about keys or smart access
  • WiFi details:
    Give guests no reason to reach out to you about connecting to the internet
  • How-tos:
    So guests don’t have to ask how to use the coffee machine, dishwasher, or hot tub
  • Local recommendations:
    Share your favorite restaurants, bars, walks, and activities
  • House rules:
    Including your smoking and pet policies, quiet hours, noise and occupancy limits
  • Your noise monitoring and other home protection systems:
    This increases confidence in your professionalism and is a deterrent to rule-breaking
  • Trash disposal:
    Include instructions on recycling and collection times
  • Check-out procedures:
    Simple steps for departure, including where to leave keys and how to leave the property
  • Contact information:
    How to reach you for assistance, plus other useful contacts, like pet stores and pharmacies

Automate triggered messages for home protection

You can pre-emptively address questions about parking, property access, and the WiFi with scheduled messages and a guidebook, but you may also need to contact guests if they become too noisy.

You can automate this process by monitoring noise levels using Minut’s standalone device. If the noise exceeds your customized normal or quiet-hour thresholds, a pre-set message is triggered and sent to guests.

For example, Minut uses its integration with Airbnb to automate these triggered noise warning messages via the Airbnb app. This makes your response time to noise issues much faster and means there’s less of a drain on your internal resources—especially during the night.

Here’s an example of a noise warning message you could automate for an Airbnb guest:

Automated Minut noise warning to guests within Airbnb
By automating noise warnings to guests, you further reduce your internal manual tasks and optimize your response time to issues. Source

Implement a scalable 24/7 solution to guest management

Inevitably, some guests will ignore your scheduled information and guidebook, while others are just too used to experiencing the personalized attention of a 24-hour front desk. As a result, as you grow your portfolio, your team may struggle to remain responsive to guests—even with automated messaging and triggers in place.

These guests can become frustrated if you don’t respond to their messages within just a few minutes or aren’t able to answer their calls. Equally, your team could be slow to manage an issue like an unauthorized party.

To resolve this, you can outsource guest management to a 24/7 team that understands your brand, has access to your property details, receives alerts from your monitoring technology, and is ready to proactively handle issues like excessive noise, occupancy, or smoking.

For example, Minut offers Call Assist and Guard Assist, whose trained teams manage your guest communication and, if required, visit the property in person to quickly diffuse any problems before they escalate. 

With these scalable guest management solutions, you can mitigate the risk of a party, property damage, or upset neighbors without adding to your team’s headcount. Also, you can protect your management team from having to enter a potentially confrontational situation.

Learn more: “Powerful automations allowing us to reach out to guests.”
Since HUSWELL started using Minut sensors, their portfolio has grown to over 700 properties.
Read the case study

Optimizing vacation rental communication

Guests are extremely demanding of your time and resources, so, if you don’t automate your communication, you’ll struggle to grow your business. 

Simply put, the burden of responding to commonly asked questions about arrival and access, as well as the need to reach out to manage problems as they arise, creates operational inefficiencies that STR businesses can’t afford if they aim to scale effectively. 

Automated communication streamlines these processes, allowing you to be more efficient with your time and resources, ultimately supporting greater guest satisfaction and sustainable growth.

Here’s a summary of how to optimize your guest communication:

  • Create a message flow that reflects the guest journey
  • Use software like Minut to schedule your message templates
  • Share a digital guidebook that pre-emptively answers all your guests’ questions
  • Set up automated triggers with message warnings for noisy guests
  • Use a trained team to resolve issues outside of normal working hours

By implementing all these strategies, you’ll have a 360-degree solution to guest communication that keeps guests happy, helps maintain positive relationships with your neighbors, and allows you to grow your STR business.